CINCINNATI -- Wearing a hooded sweatshirt with cutoff sleeves that made enough room for a long-sleeved compression shirt underneath, injured Reds infielder Mike Moustakas worked out on the field under a blazing sun on Saturday afternoon.
Moustakas, who has been out with plantar fasciitis in his right foot since May 20, is back to taking batting practice on the field, fielding ground balls at third base and running. Each day this week has seen a progression of his workload.
“I’m getting close. I feel good right now,” Moustakas said.
Moustakas, 32, has been close before, however. He went on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville that lasted one game on June 15 before he was hurt again and shut down. It meant going back into a boot and essentially starting the rehab process over.
“Last time, I had a lateral tear in my plantar fasciitis and then went on a rehab assignment and tore the medial side of my plantar fasciitis,” Moustakas said. “Two different injuries, it just kind of happens. It is what it is. I feel good. I feel like I’m in a good place to go out there and start running bases and see where I’m at after.”
Plantar fasciitis is a frustrating injury because as painful as it is, it can’t really be repaired surgically. The only real solution is rest.
“It just limits you from basically everything,” Moustakas said. “I’ve been inside doing a bunch of rehab stuff. I’m happy to be out on the field again. It’s been fun being around the boys on the field, being able to take ground balls and hit and stuff. I’m definitely ready to play some ball again, for sure.”
There remains no timetable for Moustakas to begin another rehab assignment or for when he could be back on the active roster.
“He’s anxious. He’s excited to get back with our team,” manager David Bell said. “He has been the whole time, but also starting to sense the anxiousness and it feels like it’s getting close, and I know he’s feeling a lot better. Still one step at a time, but he’ll be on the road trip with us [next week]. That’s a good sign, being closer to the team. Hopefully we’ll have more of a timetable here soon.”
Santillan impressive in emergency relief
The top of the sixth inning almost got away from the Reds before Friday’s 6-5 victory over the Cardinals. Cincinnati trailed, 5-3, when R.J. Alaniz opened by hitting his first batter and walking the second. Alaniz was removed from the game with a left calf strain and was placed on the 10-day injured list on Saturday.
Rookie Tony Santillan was summoned to replace Alaniz and got the job done. Santillan struck out Harrison Bader swinging at an 86-mph slider. Tommy Edman looked at a 96-mph fastball for strike three and Andrew Knizner flied out to right field to end the threat.
“Santillan came in throwing really well, throwing hard. I didn’t realize he threw that hard, and he throws hard. But he looked great,” shortstop Kyle Farmer said.
Santillan, 24, has been a starting-pitcher prospect for the Reds since he was their second-round selection in the 2015 Draft. He made four starts in the big leagues this season before going back to Louisville and returning as a reliever. In four relief appearances, he’s retired the first batter three times.
“It’s going to be fun to watch him develop in the bullpen,” Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson said. “We grew up coming up in the Minor Leagues, watching him start. I mean it’s an electric fastball. I remember him in Dayton getting up to 100. Being in that role where he can kind of let it eat for an inning. It’ll be interesting to see how his velo goes. He came in in a huge situation and closed the door. It was fun. It was exciting.”